As this TA attests, it is important to communicate clearly with your students, and to be gracious when confusion arises from lack of clarity. 

Although being the TA for a class of 13 students seems like it could be easier because there are less students to manage and less items to grade, it comes with its own set of challenges. One of these challenges is the group mentality that a small class creates. During the second week of class, we had a hands-on lab assignment that required supervision. In order to practice and work on this assignment, most of the class came together for my office hours. When two of the students came up to me to ask if they could schedule a separate meeting for more practice, I agreed wholeheartedly. Due to scheduling difficulties, I had to arrange the meeting in-between some other tasks, but let them know I would make time for them regardless. When the time for the meeting came, I discovered that all 13 students intended to come to the meeting time I had planned! Unfortunately, neither my schedule nor the location I arranged for the meeting would accommodate that many students. I had to talk with the two original students and acknowledge our misunderstanding. I made an assumption that it would be a small meeting and did not clearly communicate with those students. I certainly will not be making that assumption again! Going forward, I plan to make sure my communication with students, about meetings and otherwise, is clear and straightforward.

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